Introduction to Leaving Care

Introduction to leaving care

What is the Leaving Care Team? 

We are a team of Social Workers, Personal Advisors, Team Manager, Service Manager and a Head of Service.

We are based at 2 Crowborough Rd, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS2 6LP.

The Leaving Care Team is in place to provide 16 and 17 year olds (which includes unaccompanied minors) in care, and young people who have left care, the support that they may need to get ready to live independently when they are ready. We provide a safe and positive environment for you so that you can explore the realities of your life and to plan for your future.

From the age of 15 and a half to 18 you will be allocated a Social Worker and from the age of 17 and a half to 21  you will also be allocated a Personal Advisor who will work alongside your Social Worker to ensure that you are on the right path to independence. Should you require additional advice or support (health & well-being, relationships, education and training, employment, accommodation and participation in society) it will be available up until the age of 25.

The Children Act 1989 and the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 give you certain rights as a young person leaving care. These laws say that if you have been looked after, the Leaving Care Service must provide you with:

  • a Personal Advisor
  • a Pathway Plan – which helps to map out your future plans and aspirations which is updated every 6 months
  • regular Contact – to ensure that there is someone there to keep in touch with you
  • make sure that you are ready to move to living independently and the steps you are going to take to do this

Under previous legislation, we were only required to provide you with support until you reached age 21, with that support continuing up to age 25 if engaged in Higher Education or training. This support was not available to care leavers aged over 21 who were not in education, training or employment. 

This duty to provide you with support has now changed. This means that support is  available to you at any point after the age of 21 up to the age of 25, whether or not you are engaged in education and training.

We will also make sure you have somewhere suitable to live and help you to get the education, training or employment you want/need to prepare you for a successful adult life. We aim to help you to be fit and healthy, be safe and enjoy what you are doing and achieve what you want to do in life, contribute to your community, have enough money to live on and to do the things you would wish to do. To feel good about yourself, your life and support you to stay in touch with the people who are important to you.

We are able to offer advice and point you in the right direction if you run into problems and help you find solutions to the challenges you may have along the way.  We also provide:

  • a duty drop-in service that can be contacted on 01702 532087 between the hours of 9am to 5pm.
  • support and advice regarding:
  • setting Up Home Allowance
  • housing
  • benefits
  • budgeting
  • education/training
  • health matters
  • independent living workshops
  • gym membership up to aged 21 (in Southend)
  • bursary for university
  • participation in the community

What support can you expect from your Social worker?

Your Social worker will:

  • visit you regularly where you are living whilst you are in care
  • make sure they are keeping in touch with how you are getting on and help to solve any problems
  • meet with you, your foster carers / keyworkers and significant others to ensure you are happy, settled and able to focus on your life goals
  • arrange your Review meetings and support you to express your views and wishes on plans for the future (your pathway plan)
  • work together with you to update your pathway plan
  • support you too look after all aspects of your health, including arranging health assessments and dental checks, and make sure you have any immunisations you need, access to fitness, and access to emotional and psychological support
  • support you with your education, including arranging your Personal Education Plans (PEP) meetings every term until your reach 18.
  • work with you to develop your life skills required to manage adult life
  • work with you to plan your future life goals

What support can I expect from my Personal Advisor?

Your Personal Advisor will:

  • visit and meet with you regularly to think about your current and future life goals, and help to think through how best to support your plans via the Pathway Plan.
  • provide information about opportunities and choices that are open to you
  • encourage and support you in going as far as you can with your education
  • ensure you receive advice and guidance with jobs, careers and training
  • support you with all aspects of your health as you get older 
  • support and enquire about your emotional wellbeing
  • organise a Pathway Plan review meeting every six months (minimum) after you have left care to update your pathway plan so that it continues to support you as you get older
  • work with you and significant adults to put your pathway plan into practice
  • help you to develop your life skills so you can eventually live and manage independently
  • support you to access appropriate independent accommodation when the time is right and ensure you know how to manage a tenancy
  • support you to participate and feel a part of your community and be and feel ready for adult life information about activities, events or volunteering opportunities available in the local area that care leavers can get involved in.
  • support you up to the age of 25 dependent on the support you are requesting

Do all young people get the same service?

Whether you have lived in Southend all your life, or come from another part of the country, you will receive the same service from the Leaving Care Team.

If you have come from abroad as a child and have applied for asylum you will receive the same service as other young people born in the United Kingdom. We will help you to access advice about your application for leave to remain, although we cannot always help with the cost of legal advice and applications. You will continue to receive the same support whilst your application is being considered by the Home Office or if you are granted leave to remain.

If the Home Office refuses your application for asylum, and if you are unable to appeal against the decision, then dependent on your age you will continue to receive a service from the Leaving Care Team until it is considered either unlawful for us to continue to do so or we have referred you to another specialist service who can advise you on the support you can receive to return to your country of origin.

Ground Rules

It is very important to us that we work closely together and that this is based on trusting relationships. We therefore ask that everyone:

  • treats each other with respect
  • we will not swear at you and ask for the same back
  • for everyone’s safety it is important that there is no alcohol, drugs or weapons on the premises and no damage is caused to property
  • if anyone’s behaviour escalates and is considered abusive or violent we have clear procedures and consequences in place which could lead to a person being banned from the office

We will promise to treat you fairly and offer you the best service possible with respect to your race, culture, religion, disability, gender or sexuality

Leaving Care Team Aspirations

We hold very high ambitions for you and are committed to supporting you to:

  • achieve your goals
  • have all the skills to live independently
  • have an apprenticeship
  • study at university
  • be able to make good decisions
  • engage in education, training or employment
  • minimise the frequency of teenage parenting
  • secure, safe, suitable and affordable accommodation

Page last updated: 14/08/2019